Two former college roommates, Purna Khatau and Phoebe Vickers, who started their fashion brand eight years ago under the same name, are suing Bieber for trademark infringement.
The duo claims that Bieber initially sought to acquire the trademark back in 2018 — an offer they declined. However, despite the refusal, Bieber allegedly still went forward with launching her own Rhode brand on June 15, 2022.
“She did this despite knowing of Rhode and its prior rights,” said Lisa T. Simpson, lead litigation counsel to fashion brand, Rhode.
“It’s an unfortunate circumstance. We, of course, understand that Hailey wants to use her middle name for her brand, but the law on this is clear: you can’t create this kind of brand confusion just because you want to use your name. What Ms. Bieber is doing is harming a minority co-owned business that two women have painstakingly built into a growing, global brand.”
The Rhode fashion brand originally launched in 2014 and offers colorful printed dresses and separates. The brand has been worn by celebrities, including Mindy Kaling and Kelly Clarkson.
The move to file a lawsuit against Ms. Bieber and her namesake brand is part of the Khatau and Vickers’ effort to block Bieber from using the Rhode name and avoid confusion between their brands.
The lawsuit references Bieber’s massive following, her ability to make products go viral, and the effects it could have on the fashion label, stating it would “cause immediate, ongoing and irreparable harm to the Rhode brand.”
“While a global brand, we are still a young and growing company, and we cannot overcome a celebrity with Hailey’s following using our company’s name to sell related products,” said the fashion brand.
“We don’t want to sue Hailey; we want to celebrate her. As fellow women entrepreneurs, we wish her every success. Hailey has hard-earned star power and influence. She could choose any brand for her company. We have only the brand that we’ve built.”
In 2019 and 2020, when Bieber looked to make her entry into the beauty world, she filed for various trademarks. Bieber originally tried to secure the name Bieber Beauty, but the application was ultimately rejected due to possible confusion with previous marks registered by her husband, Justin Bieber.